Glendale High School seniors didn’t let the stuffy heat on Tuesday evening deter them from enjoying the moment they’ve been waiting for the majority of their lives: graduation.
Surrounded by family and friends cheering them on, the Class of 2019 descended on Moyse Field for the school’s 116th commencement ceremony, decked out in red and black graduation gowns.
The ceremony featured the school’s a capella choir singing “Remember Me,” from the Pixar animated film “Coco,” which is the class song, followed by student body president Liliana Lopez as the first speaker for the evening.
Lopez talked about how all 497 graduating seniors affected each other during their four years at Glendale High, whether it was bumping into one another in the hallway or sitting next to each other in class and striking up a conversation.
“It’s highly unlikely that the person sitting on your left or your right or all the way across from you and seven seats over [has] not contributed at least something to your life,” she said. “Or been a part of the reason, even a tiny part, of where you’ve been and where you are now.”
Senior class president Madalyn Fabian spoke about how the seniors went through all sorts of tests, ranging from AP testing to the SAT and ACT.
Now, they’re moving on to a bigger test: life.
“This is the time to make mistakes, to learn and, in the end, to know, for a fact, that you’re in the right place,” she said.
Before the diplomas were handed out, Glendale High principal Benjamin Wolf took a moment to the address his students one last time. He said that during previous ceremonies, he’d given a speech that typically touched on the same themes of urging the students to make their mark on the world and be open to new experiences.
Last year's graduation led him to change things up and address the current political divide in the country and what students can do to help fix that.
This year's speech was no different; in fact, Wolf admitted it was the same one.
He said his speech wasn’t going to be about taking sides, but that hyperpartisan politics is actually a big part of the problem.
“We have become so passionately blinded that we no longer debate issues and no longer talk about solutions as gentlemanly adversaries,” he said.
He acknowledged many of the students in the crowd may go on to become doctors and engineers, but he encouraged everyone to be the metaphorical doctors and engineers in their communities.
Wolf encouraged Glendale High students to take the time to heal the divide his generation has created in the country and to build bridges across the political spectrum “so that when differences and problems arise, we can talk to each other and find solutions.”